Human rights

Human rights

24 February 2021
SG/SM/20599

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ briefing to the General Assembly on the call to action for human rights, today:

24 February 2021

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration today began preparing asylum seekers in the Matamoros camp for entry to the United States as the country ends a policy that forced some 25,000 people to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearings.

23 February 2021

The number of civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan rose following the start of peace negotiations in September, according to report released today by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Organization’s human rights office.  The country remains among the deadliest for civilians.

22 February 2021
SG/SM/20589

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the opening of the forty-sixth regular session of the Human Rights Council, held today:

22 February 2021

Cabo Verde is among the first African countries to receive the first allocation of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility, the United Nations team there reports. In the next few weeks, thanks to additional World Bank funding of $5 million, Cabo Verde will be able to buy vaccines for almost 35 per cent of the population.

22 February 2021
SG/SM/20592

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Human Rights Council panel on “Fight against Racism and Discrimination 20 Years after the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action”, held today:

19 February 2021

Ten years into Syria’s crisis, humanitarian needs are deepening, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says, with an estimated 13.4 million people requiring protection and assistance, up more than 2 million people from 2020.  Nearly 60 per cent of the population is food insecure.

16 February 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched the Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, with 15 leading airlines supporting the prioritization of the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and other critical supplies.

15 February 2021

The period following the start of Afghanistan’s peace negotiations in September 2020 has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of human rights defenders and media professionals killed in the country, a new report issued today by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says.

12 February 2021

Humanitarian officials are seriously concerned about the rapidly deteriorating food security situation in southern and eastern Madagascar, where more than 1.3 million people face severe hunger.  The third drought in a row is compounding the effects of COVID-19 and the extremely limited access to essential services.

8 February 2021
SG/SM/20575

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

8 February 2021

The United Nations team in Indonesia is supporting efforts to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population, over 216 million people, against COVID-19.  Work has begun to bring the country into the COVAX facility, and the World Health Organization helped finalize a vaccine introduction road map and guidelines.

4 February 2021

The World Food Programme, with support from the United Kingdom, is accelerating global cooperation on the use of humanitarian drones.  While calling for their ethical and responsible use, officials say drones can be a game-changer for fast, accurate, low-cost disaster assessment and response.

3 February 2021

A report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan finds increasing reports of torture in that country’s detention facilities.  Almost a third of those detained for security or terrorism-related offences reported torture or other ill-treatment.  

2 February 2021

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union have launched a programme to protect migrant children in Central America and Southern Africa.  It will work with Governments and civil society groups to provide care alternatives to immigration detention.

1 February 2021

Clashes and administrative hurdles are limiting humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, including two refugee camps that have been inaccessible since November 2020, according to officials.  United Nations personnel are working with the Government to ensure clearances for aid workers, many of whom are waiting with supplies in Addis Ababa.

29 January 2021

The United Nations and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research hosted an online discussion on how to prioritize actions to recover more equitably from the COVID-19 pandemic.  More than 100 participants from 60 countries attended, including those responsible for $100 billion annually in global research investments.

28 January 2021
SG/SM/20559

Following is the transcript of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ press conference, in New York today:

27 January 2021

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, raised concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse impact on children in conflict zones.  In her annual report to the Human Rights Council, she urged States to incorporate child rights in virus containment plans and ensure that protection services continue to operate.

22 January 2021

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number of people displaced by violence in Africa’s Sahel region has reached 2 million.  Officials warn that needs continue to surge, with multiple crises converging and the humanitarian response dangerously overstretched.